Cranford

Front Cover
Collector's Library, 2008 - Domestic fiction - 318 pages
51 Reviews
Cranford is a rich, comic and illuminating portrait of life in a small town in early Victorian times. Mrs Gaskell presents us with a society that was disappearing because of the onward march of the Industrial Revolution. While the dark clouds of urbanisation and the advance of the railway hover threateningly on the horizon, the inhabitants of Cranford, predominantly women, resolutely refuse to embrace change. Gaskell shows that in their apparently simple ordered lives they face many emotional dilemmas and upheavals. It is the drama of the minutiae that is both appealing and illuminating, revealing as it does that great emotions can by stirred by what to the outside world are minor matters.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

This is a sweet tale of the little old ladies living in a small town in England. It's told from the perspective of a young visitor, including her affectionate yet sly remarks about the quirks of life ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TerriS - LibraryThing

This is a cute book written in the mid-1800's, and it really shows the difference in society at that time and how people (in England, at least) thought about class and everyone's societal position. Read full review

Contents

I
15
II
34
III
57
IV
71
V
89
VI
106
VII
124
VIII
140
XI
198
XII
216
XIII
231
XIV
250
XV
277
XVI
296
XVII
309
XVIII
317

IX
160
X
175
XIX
318
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About the author (2008)

Elizabeth Gaskell was born on September 29, 1810 to a Unitarian clergyman, who was also a civil servant and journalist. Her mother died when she was young, and she was brought up by her aunt in Knutsford, a small village that was the prototype for Cranford, Hollingford and the setting for numerous other short stories. In 1832, she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian clergyman in Manchester. She participated in his ministry and collaborated with him to write the poem Sketches among the Poor in 1837. Our Society at Cranford was the first two chapters of Cranford and it appeared in Dickens' Household Words in 1851. Dickens liked it so much that he pressed Gaskell for more episodes, and she produced eight more of them between 1852 and 1853. She also wrote My Lady Ludlow and Lois the Witch, a novella that concerns the Salem witch trials. Wives and Daughters ran in Cornhill from August 1864 to January 1866. The final installment was never written but the ending was known and the novel exists now virtually complete. The story centers on a series of relationships between family groups in Hollingford. Most critics agree that her greatest achievement is the short novel Cousin Phillis. Gaskell was also followed by controversy. In 1853, she offended many readers with Ruth, which explored seduction and illegitimacy that led the "fallen woman" into ostracism and inevitable prostitution. The novel presents the social conduct in a small community when tolerance and morality clash. Critics praised the novel's moral lessons but Gaskell's own congregation burned the book and it was banned in many libraries. In 1857, The Life of Charlotte Brontė was published. The biography was initially praised but angry protests came from some of the people it dealt with. Gaskell was against any biographical notice of her being written during her lifetime. After her death on November 12, 1865, her family refused to make family letters or biographical data available.

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